Matt Nicholson made a career of overcoming adversity as a college player.

Montana's first-year strength and conditioning coach started out as a walk-on at Houston in 2006, working his way up to a scholarship and a two-year stay as a team captain while playing linebacker. All that despite missing chunks of his final three seasons with three separate knee ligament injuries that cost him 20 games.

"Working out has always been very important to me because rehab is a life-long process when you're trying to stay up on two feet," Nicholson said. "... When you're set back that much after an injury, you've got to work twice as hard just to get back to where you were."

Nicholson, 27, coached the linebackers for Bob Stitt's Colorado School of Mines the past two seasons, coming with the head man to Montana. Prior to that, he was a three-year assistant with at his alma mater, serving as weight room assistant his first nine months before joining the staff as a graduate assistant and working with the linebackers.

Nicholson received a degree in kinesiology/sport administration from Houston in 2010, graduating from the school with a master's in human resource development after his graduate assistantship was finished 2 1/2 years later.

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